I have always believed in character sketches but I never realized how limited mine were. In the 90 day novel challenge I had to do ten character sketches and I have to say, I know the characters for this book, Superman is the working title and no it has nothing to do with superman, than I do with Mystic’s characters and I have been working with them for years.
In my initial sketches I made sure to put a little history, anything that was pertinent to the story, their physical appearance, what clothes they preferred and what they would never be comfortable in. I even had if the liked peas or not as a general rule and it still was not anywhere near enough.
The difference between my approach and the one in the challenge is actually really simple. I was looking at my characters as people in my book, in the challenge I had to look at them as people first and characters in my novel second. I wrote out their entire history, from birth till the first chapter. So I know their first love, the relationship with their siblings, their favorite hide out, everything! It’s very exciting to see and create these people knowing (hoping really) that readers will love or hate them as much as I do someday.
To help you with your sketches, here are some things I didn’t think of in my original ones.
Their ENTIRE HISTORY.
Their first love, how/why did it end. If it didn’t tell why.
Favorite childhood memory and why.
Most traumatic life event.
Their job. (yeah I totally didn’t care if it wasn’t mentioned in the story)
Actually write out their personality traits.
What vehicle they drive.
Those are just a few. Go into as much detail on each as you can and it will be so much easier to know what your characters will do, how they will react to situations, which will help you avoid those awful plotholes!